Lots of managers chatter away about the importance of keeping customers satisfied. But Frank Meeks, CEO and owner of Domino's Pizza Team Washington Inc., which owns 42 stores in the Washington, D.C., area, thinks employees have difficulty committing themselves to abstractions. So he spells it out for them.

Employees are taught the dollar consequences of alienating customers. "Many customers," Meeks explains, "do business with the company twice a week, spending close to $1,000 annually, not including tips. Extending that over seven years, that's $7,000. And unhappy customers tell about a dozen other people, multiplying the potential damage even further."

All problems don't disappear by educating people about those numbers, says Meeks. But it does help them focus on the importance of happy customers. "We want them to adopt a philosophy about what they do. Having a number helps us do it."